Posted on 2 July 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews, Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei




The Noitamina time-slot surely rocked beyond belief this season. Alongside Sarai-ya Goyou aired the possibly even better Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei, the latest product of Masaaki Yuasa of Kaiba-fame. This time, he went for a ton-of-dialogue artsy character-study slash college life series, in which we follow the lead character as he explores a wide variety of different clubs and lifestyles during his years in college throughout many parallel dimensions. And it works out wonderfully.

At first sight, the way in which this series keeps resetting itself after every episode may seem weird at first, but it actually was a brilliant method to flesh out its different characters. Because of its very frequent resets, this stands out even more than series that did similar things in the past, like Higurashi and Umineko. Because of this, we get to see a ton of different sides of the characters that would never have been able to been shown without these resets, and the most important part is that we see Watashi develop in many different ways throughout each episode. The different side-characters all have their own parts to play in Watashi (the lead character)’s world and everything comes together wonderfully in the final episodes.

All of this is accompanied by some truly excellent dialogue. This series is based on an actual novel, rather than a manga or light novel, and it really shows. The dialogue is incredibly fast and you really need to pay attention to keep up with it, but as a narration it offers very detailed descriptions of the situations that Watashi finds himself in, which is nearly always very imaginative in the ways that it does so, with quite a number of witty remarks.

One potential pitfall could have been for the series to lose itself in either its dialogue and visuals, but neither happens. There are a ton of details stuffed into this series in order to make all episodes stand out, but in the same way the main message and characters remain deceptively simple on the outside. In comparison, while Kuchuu Buranko felt a bit like a loose cannon at times, every moment of Yojou-han is instead meant to bring colour to the life in which Watashi is living, and build up for the episodes that are still to come. Because the huge amount of building up, the first half of this series is decidedly less impressive than the second half, but the build-up is definitely worth it.

It’s a series that doesn’t try to provoke the biggest emotional response, but as a character-study it really stands out as a minor masterpiece here, in the way that it very subtly manages to flesh out and characterize its entire cast. Especially after the final episodes, it stands out as my favourite show of the series that premiered during the past spring season.

Storytelling: 10/10 – Fresh, and varied, skillfully combining repetition with new ideas to flesh itself out. Top notch narration.
Characters: 9/10 – The formula really allows the characters to come alive and show many different sides of themselves.
Production-Values: 9/10 – It’s Masaaki Yuasa. Do I need to say anything more?
Setting: 9/10 – Spoilerific to go in detail here but yeah: this one rocks too.

Suggestions:
Mind Game (another one of those movies that I’d review entirely different if I were to watch it today)
Amatsuki
Revolutionary Girl Utena

Posted on with categories: Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei



Well, so here it finally is: the ending I’ve been looking forward to the most this season. And indeed: this really was the best ending of the season for me. It was a wonderful wrap up of all of the build-up that this series has done.

So in this episode, Watashi continues to wander through all of the parallel worlds of his own life that he’s been trapped in, but the big difference with the previous episode was that he finally starts piecing everything together in an attempt to get out of that maze in which he can only eat castella and fish burgers that are lying around.

Most of this episode actually was a summary of what happened in the previous episodes, but by finally thinking about them and piecing everything together, Watashi finally started to notice that Mochigumo that kept hanging above him. Like expected, that was indeed the opportunity that kept dangling in front of him. That part really was the only potential pitfall of this episode: many shows have failed with such a cheesy romantic conclusion, but the way in which Watashi finally realized that he developed a crush over Akashi was well portrayed, and subtle. In fact, his entire confession was wonderfully different from what you usually see. It wasn’t dramatic at all, and instead just felt very natural. Or as natural as you can get a guy to act, wearing nothing but a scarf and talking about disappearing underpants.

Instead, the dramatic climax was… about Oz. Watashi finally came to terms with Oz as a character, and accepted him for who he was. Interestingly, Oz’s facial expression also completely changed here. It shows even more that we see all of this from the perspective of Watashi, in which he’s this evil bastard and therefore also has this continuous grin on his face. the same goes for the fortune teller: she also looks totally different now.

Overall though, it’s awesome to see that Masaaki Yuasa is constantly trying to improve himself. The big weakness of Kaiba was its rushed ending, so here instead he comes with a perfectly planned out series across eleven episodes, in which the final episode is really meant to give closure to everything. Whether Yojou-han surpassed Kaiba… nah. The rest of Kaiba was just that good. Nevertheless, Yojou-han was a really well written character-study that has a good chance of becoming the most unique series of 2010.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 26 June 2010 with categories: Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei



This episode was brilliant, there’s no other way to it. it’s THE proof that this very much was a series that was building up to its conclusion right from the beginning, and now that everything is coming together, it has just surpassed itself. It’s without a doubt my favourite episode of Yojou-han so far. Really, out of all the endings this season, I’m looking forward to the final episode of this series the most.

So in this episode we were promised that finally Watashi would break through the tradition of joining random clubs and pushing reset buttons, but I’m very pleasantly surprised with how he actually did it. Instead of running after a whimsical dream, he just gives up. He spends god knows how long in his own room, and eventually he ends up trapped in a maze full of endless parallel worlds of this room.

I loved how the creators portrayed Watashi and his confusion as he tried to make sense of his situation. It’s interesting how he just doesn’t speak in this episode aside from just one line: all we hear are just some grunts and his inner monologues, which seemed to be wittier and more descriptive than ever here. Especially the scenes in which he just tried to waste time were priceless in how down to earth they were.

In the end, this indeed is a series about parallel worlds: worlds that can change depending on even the slightest decisions that you can make different. Even in the current world, there were aspects that returned in other worlds, like the Castella. Oh, and the cockroach trick “backfired” with some hilarious result. What’s also interesting is that Watashi usually hardly ever was at home. In all of the rooms that the Watashi of this episode crossed, he only came across himself once (also explaining why that weird man with a beard appeared: it wasn’t exactly an older version, just a version of Watashi who refused to shave).

It’s also interesting how Oz doesn’t seem to be the main bad guy of this series after all. This also could be expected after the previous episode, but it seems that Oz is just another characters in all of the universes that Watashi takes place in. This anime really is a journey of self-discovery for Watashi. The main concept wouldn’t be that different if Oz weren’t there, and the biggest difference is that Watashi didn’t have someone to put him down to earth by reminding him what an idiot he is.

Now, this really is a series that’s perfect for the short airtime of 11 episodes: it’s short but focused, and knows what it’s building up to. Those are often the most successful short series, compared to the ones that either just cut off, or try to do just too much in too little time. That will make for enjoyable series, but not the masterpieces like Yojou-han and Kaiba because it can never get really in-depth about its characters.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 19 June 2010 with categories: Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei



This was just awesome, the way in which everything came together in this episode, and there still are two episodes left for Yojou-han’s conclusion. This episode took events from all of the previous episodes and wove them masterfully into one.

Very different from usual, Watashi ended up being a bad guy here, rather than joining a regular club. It was some sort of evil society that was responsible for the rounding up of bikes in episode three. I think that this was the first time he really made Akashi angry here. In fact, we get confirmation that she’s still a member of the same clubs as she’s ever been in, and we get more and more a confirmation that every episode is the same, aside from which club Watashi decides to enter. The previous three episodes were special in the way that he wasn’t too involved in these clubs (an English club and reading club… yeah), which allowed him to explore love a bit more, instead of getting all caught up with these clubs here.

In all of these episodes, he met Akashi in different ways, because they pretty much were in the same campus, and she happened to live next to Ozu. Ozu on the meantime… I really begin to suspect that he was involved in everything here, from the tennis club to being Higuchi’s disciple to being the captain of the lucky cat Chinese restaurant. The reason he was involved in the cult in episode five was because his girlfriend was that raven-haired maiden that Watashi was chasing after back then; that’s why he crashed that airship. This episode finally revealed all of his motivations.

There was one big difference here though, that doesn’t really fit into the canon of the other episodes: Watashi did NOT find Akashi’s Mochiguman, but instead Ozu went after it. Could this be a hint that Watashi is getting further and further away from her, and that he’s just failing to notice what’s right in front of him? This episode does show that now that he finally found wealth and power he still feels like he’s missing something, which was pretty much the first time he acknowledged this.

Also, this episode did NOT feature a rewind. Instead we just have Watashi sulking in his room. I think that out of all the conclusions this season, Yojou-han is the one I’m looking forward to the most. There are just so many ways in which it can go, and I really feel like the creators have been carefully building up towards that ending.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 12 June 2010 with categories: Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei



What am amazing conclusion to the love triangle arc. Seriously, Sarai-ya Goyou has really gotten some serious competition for my favourite series of the season, I really love the way in which Masaaki Yuasa has been delivering this series so far. This episode was nearly again the exact same as the previous two, only with the focus on Keiko, Watashi’s pen-pal, and a different conclusion.

The past arc has been brilliant in making everything spiral out of control. It’s THE proof that repetition doesn’t need to be bad, provided that you use it well. There have been tons of series who did amazing things with it (Utena, Higurashi, Jigoku Shoujo and Umineko, and it’s very interesting to see Yojou-han joining them.

I think we all knew that Keiko was actually Oz, the moment he handed Watashi that magazine, in which he found Keiko’s address. Part of what made this episode so much fun though was the way in which he was so genuinely enamoured with her. The look on his face (and especially the dialogue that went on inside his head) at the moment he found out that he had been exchanging love letters with Oz was priceless.

Akaishi’s role in everything also turned out to be very interesting in the past arc. The big difference with the previous arcs is that Watashi actually did something nice for her, instead of ignoring her (that was probably the meaning of the promise-scene of the earlier episodes: it’s to show that the two actually fit each other quite well, but because Watashi is so incredibly dense he never made any advances on her and forgot about his promises to her). Also, she’s living next to Oz.

Seriously, now that prediction that Higuchi made back into that first episode gets a new dimension with this. Who knows how often they hooked up with each other while Watashi was messed up in his umpth weird idea? We’ve heard of Oz’s girlfriend before, but have we actually seen her once? And again: Johnny was no use in this episode, and Watashi again left her. But then again, he really was in love with the image of Keiko he created. That’s the really weird part here: his love for Hanuki felt a bit shallow. Instead however, he has been genuinely in love with two women who didn’t exist. In fact, Watashi is a guy who just keeps chasing after these abstracts that don’t really exist, instead of looking what’s right in front of him: something concrete that can make him happy. Johnny turned out to be the complete opposite of this: not looking far away, but instead just trying to go after what’s right in front of him.

I really wonder what those final episodes will be about: how will they put everything to a conclusion? This is Masaaki Yuasa. For the sake of spoilers I’ll be vague in this, but ‘certain’ series of his have had really… ‘interesting’ endings.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 4 June 2010 with categories: Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei



Awesome, this is exactly as I hoped: this show just continues to get better and better. Screw the repetition, every episode manages to add ten new things for everything it recaps. I was a bit fearful of the prospect of having an episode more similar to its predecessor than ever (who knows, perhaps it might even have pulled a “Seraphim Call”), but this episode very skillfully took the the previous episode, and built further upon it.

The overall scenario is pretty much the same as in the previous episode, it’s just the focus and ending are different. Instead we gloss over Hanuki and the pen pal, and instead this episode is about the love triangle around between Watashi, Jougasaki and the love doll. Oh, and Johnny. He has gotten way more extreme with this episode.

This episode really was masterfully written, not just how Watashi’s feelings kept spiralling out of control, but also that Jougasaki kept entrusting Kaori more and more to Watashi in a surprisingly similar way as how we’ve seen him in the second episode. On top of that there were also a ton of parallels with that proxy proxy war of episode four. Seriously, it felt like Ozu kept pestering him even without Watashi’s help. That could explain why he’s been so relatively absent in the past few episodes. It would be pretty awesome if he was some kind of ever-present prankster.

The next episode will be about the pen pal. the end of this episode even hinted at that. But what about episode 10 and 11? Especially Akashi had a really weird role in these episodes, as she was supposed to be the female love interest and instead Watashi has chosen three other girls to fall in love with. Will episode 10 actually be the same as these past two episodes, but on the perspective of Akashi?

It makes me think about the one oddball episode about this series: the one about Higuchi’s disciple. All of the other episodes were about portraying Watashi as some sort of socially awkward loser: the past two episodes were all about his desire to remain pure, and the other episodes really all stressed what a social dork he is. That episode was different, though. His life was miserable there not because of his own actions, but rather only because he ended up choosing the wrong club at the beginning of his university life. That proxy-proxy war was completely different from Watashi’s other struggles, not to mention that really weird scene in which Higuchi suddenly started riding a giant whale.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 28 May 2010 with categories: Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei




This episode finally introduces that strange cowboy we’ve been seeing in the OP. Guess what his name is? I really thought that it was some kind of Euphemism that Eden of the East came up with, but here we’ve got another show that comes up with that strange nickname.

In any case, this episode was just awesome, by far the best of Yojou-han yet. It was a masterfully written romance that felt incredibly refreshing when compared to all of the uninspired high school romances out there. It’s the episode that finally gets a close look at Hanuki, the dentist assistant. Watashi meanwhile is in the middle of a really weird love polygon in which he often hangs out with her after club activities (this time it’s the English Club, at which for once he doesn’t suck… or at least feel out of place at), exchanges letters with a mysterious girlfriend whose identity we never really learn and somehow ended up taking care of Jougasaki. Hanuki in the meantime also hangs out with Jougasaki and it’s heavily implied that Master is her boyfriend.

The reason this episode rocked so much was how well it got into Watashi’s head for this episode. Especially when the liquor popped up everything kept spiralling out of control masterfully. I’m not exactly a fan of Johnny’s voice actor, but nevertheless it shows what a genius Masaaki Yuawa is at portraying chaos.

Ozu this time was interesting again, in the way that he was very much out of the picture for the biggest part of this episode. He’s still causing trouble, but it’s affecting Watashi less and less: he actually got close to three girls other than Watashi here. Speaking of which: she never made an appearance at all. This was a very interesting episode of Watashi, experimenting with other women than what this series made out to be his “true love”; very refreshing.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 21 May 2010 with categories: Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei



It’s of course easy to immediately start comparing this show to Kaiba, however I opted not to do this for the first four episodes. Simply, because that would not be fair. Kaiba was a stellar series, and amongst my favourites. Expecting the same would just be unrealistic. The interesting thing about anime is that beforehand you almost never know which shows will turn out to be the best. Even more, Kaiba had a stellar first episode. Yojou-han instead was completely focused on building up. Kaiba sold me with its incredibly creative back-story and its gripping narrative. Yojou-han instead has its dialogue, repetition and wit. With a series as Durarara, you can see that it tried to look like Baccano at times, however Yojou-han makes no attempt at trying to catch in on Kaiba’s… um… popularity.

This show is weird: we’re still stuck in those random campus life stories. In this episode, Watashi ends up in a hippie-cult full of peace-loving flower-children that look a lot like scienology. It’s another story of how he completely throws away his first two years at college, just in an attempt to fit in. It’s actually very similar to the third episode in which he couldn’t fit into the cyclist club because he wasn’t athletic, here too he couldn’t fit into the softball club because he wasn’t one of those people who always look at the bright side of life. Here things got carried way more out of control though, because Ozu was surprisingly absent here. He for once only caused trouble that helped Watashi.

What’s also interesting is that Akashi still is Higuchi’s disciple. Her role seems to be all over the place, it seems. Sometimes she ends up joining the same club as Watashi, sometimes she doesn’t. Sometimes she’s straight-up his love interest, but this episode has him chasing after someone completely different. I think a key is also that she’s a year younger than him, so by the time that she gets to join college he’s also completely involved in whatever stupid club he’s involved in. I think a major theme in this show has been the contrast between Watashi’s image of romance, between the types of girls that he’s actually interested in. Watashi ends up in such a huge mess every time because his expectations of college life are completely different, and instead of choosing a club that fits him he instead keeps choosing clubs that fits the romantic image that he has in his head. He just is an anti-social character, and I’m beginning to think that Ozu and Akashi always end up with him because they too aren’t fond of socializing and doing regular college stuff.

I also labelled Watashi as a loser once, but that also doesn’t quite turn out to be the truth. He can be quite successful when he wants to: he can train and become very muscular, he can make a lot of money through jobs, he can put together an entire movie on his own. It’s not like he’s not good at anything, he just doesn’t use his energy at the right places and instead wastes it on stupid stuff that only make his life miserable.

In any case, what I’m trying to say here is that Yojou-han episodes have this weird effect. Especially this one. Overall this episode was enjoyable, though nothing special when you get past the styles. There were a number of interesting jokes, plus the critique at scientology also had its moments, but it’s nothing that I would label amongst Giant Killing and Sarai-ya Goyou as my favourite of this season. However the final few minutes in a Yojou-han episode are very often the best ones. We get to see the point at which Watashi snaps and turns back time, but the whole episode also comes together surprisingly clever. This episode even added to the previous episode (explaining that the 20000 leagues under sea novel and the globe actually were from Watashi and he thought that Ozu stole them).

The weirdest thing here was this future version of Watashi suddenly popping up. Was this just symbolism, or is this going to continue more often? In any case I must say that I was right in not expecting too much from the first few episodes of this, because after a few episodes that may not have been the most exciting I’m getting more and more excited about this series.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 13 May 2010 with categories: Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei



This series was already a bit surreal at times, but this episode took it even farther. The visual symbolism in this episode was just all over the place, and it loved pulling all kinds of weird visual references to events that were happening, the most obvious being the point at which Higuchi started singing.

It was a really weird episode, and probably the hardest one to understand so far due to all of the things that were thrown at us, ranging from the scavenger hunt for the weird brush to the rock-paper-scissors match at the end.

Watashi wasn’t exactly a loser here, as much as a devout follower of Higuchi and his weird ideas. Ozu this time was the bastard in the way that he was playing a bit of a double spy. They’re far less extreme than in the previous episodes, but I think that that’s because of Higuchi’s influence at work, who kept them at bay. Ozu could only be a small bastard, because for some reason it seemed impossible to really make Higuchi’s life bad.

I’m also very curious about the next episode. Wasn’t this series supposed to be just about four stories? Could that mean that we’re going to revisit the tennis club again in the next episode? Overall, the status quo in this series seems to be two deaths of Watashi, one life in hiding, and one life wasted on some weird guy.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 6 May 2010 with categories: Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei




This series really is why I love episodic series. The bad ones obviously suck beyond belief, but when shows like this one make optimal use of them they can really turn into something unique, and the short stories can allow for ideas that would normally not fit within a linear storyline. A lot of things have to be done right in order to get a good episodic series, though, but to me the key seems to be creativity, along with somehow finding a way to build-up: connecting the different episodes together. I believe that if these aren’t present, you’re just better off with a linear storyline in order to get the best out of your characters. But Yojou-han has both of them.

This seems to me a study of all types of losers. Watashi is socially inept throughout all the episodes, but every time it is in a different way. In the previous episodes he created his own problems by his pranks, but in this episode he just was another one of those losers who didn’t fit in because he had no athletic skills. Ozu instead of trying to get him into his pranks instead left him completely out of it for once. Interestingly though, I do believe that Watashi’s character has remained the same throughout the first three episodes: what we just see is him, reacting to different situations in a different way. That definitely is one interesting way of character-development. You can see his reckless parts in the way that he flew into his death at the end of this episode: it’s exactly those parts that we saw in episode two when he created that crazy video.

Whether Akashi and Ozu are the same… I’m not sure yet. This episode showed that Yojou-han is a show in which Watashi, Akashi and Ozu hop between different clubs, all three with their own agendas, while the rest remains constant. The actor of the previous episode still is an actor here. Akashi in this episode proves that she’s actually a very good cyclist. In this episode she loses her strap again, but there’s no promise scene. The cake is also gone. She’s a lot less cold than what she was in the first two episodes as well, it seems. As for Ozu, if he indeed also is the same character in every episode, then he strikes me as a guy who always grabs every opportunity to make someone’s life miserable, finding the right allies to accompany him. In this episode there probably already was some sort of bike-stealing club, which is why he didn’t really need Watashi. The second episode in contrast only needed him to show what a guy that actor really was: Watashi himself just did the rest.

Either way, I love the concept of this series: showing how the same people in different settings can be so different.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

CHANGE USERNAME
Kaiser-Eoghan
Still enjoying the sangatsu manga and all the character interactions in this most recent volume.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Quintuplets might be under consideration, dororo is a definite. I don't want to watch revisions , girly airforce or plane thing because of the cgi.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have the first 3 doro episodes downloaded to watch tomorrow, I'll comment on them, I'm giving it a shot because I love Tezuka.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The quintuplets thing is one of those things I would see myself chuckling at for a bit then feeling no obligation to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The cat thing is probably cute but its too light for me to invest in in the long run.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Regarding this season, I'll be direct, it isn't my thing, I got my fill of Kaguya's manga and all I can out of it, promised neverland, once the escape bit finished just turned into an action series (at least from what I read) lacking a compelling followup hook for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Acca had this odd way of delivering information that made it seem stuff went on between the lines or offscreen, often it worked, sometimes it didn't. Its a show that really picks up after the first couple of episodes and really gets elevated by its revelations, cool setting , art style and opening theme too.
Lenlo
I agree it does that. I think my issue may come with me maybe missing something or just not understanding the series as a whole, and so parts of it were lost on me. I enjoyed the series I would say though
SuperMario
Let me rephrase by saying ACCA ending neatly ties up plot threads for me
Lenlo
I didnt say I didnt like it, just that it wasn't what I expected. It was odd. I think I need time to process it.
SuperMario
@Lenlo: you didn't like ACCA ending? I thought the ending is easily its best part. It's the first few episodes that feel slow for me
Lenlo
Also, just finished ACCA. Man... that was a weird ending. Not sure how I feel about the series, but damn, did it have style.

Also, thanks (?) Wooper.
Lenlo
Lets see... Dororo is good, but I am still lukewarm on it. Kaze Fui is a fantastic carry over from last season. Mob and Neverland of course. Shield Hero, if you want to be part of the latest big craze discussion. Kaguya if you like romance. Ill search some more, but those are off the top of my head.
Anonymous3338351
What are some must-watch anime this season; I'm watching MBP100 and Promised Neverland rn
Vonter
Shield hero looks like it fits with that journey of doing the right thing even though most are against you.
Vonter
You know what it reminds me of. It's kinda like that episode of Malcolm in the Middle. Where the family returns after a trip and find the neighborhood celebrates their absence, since everyone dislikes them. By the end when they make up, all the neighborhood gets bitter with one another because they no longer share a connection of hate with Malcolm's family.
Vonter
Also the undercurrent semblance of looking more like a bad guy or anti hero. Despite him having a good moral compass.
Vonter
SuperMario - I don't felt it was about being defeated or not. I got the feeling it was taking the hit for others. Because since he has high defence he does take the damage, but he does look weary about doing that. And the framework paints him so far more as an underdog than a prodigy.
SuperMario
But does the fact that he’s the greatest defender makes him the one who can’t be defeated? I haven’t watched the latest one though
Vonter
I did like the new episode of Shield Hero. It made me realize there can be stakes in Isekai battles. In both Overlord and Slime I usually space out in the battles because they seem unnecessary outside of animation. It's more interesting if there's a display of wits and using the environment. I also like the protagonist be on the defense and the sidekick as the attacker.
SuperWooper
Here's a "review of one of our own reviewers:"

Lenlo is a pretty cool guy. His taste refreshingly runs the gamut from shounen action series to character-driven period pieces. His use of "Read More" tags and intro paragraphs, though they break the site's house style, give his posts their own signature that his readers likely appreciate. I give Lenlo a 92/100.
SuperWooper
Also, if we're getting pedantic, my post on Kaguya wasn't a "review of one of your own reviewers." It was a review of an anime episode.
SuperWooper
It's "shitty?" Really? None of what we do here is for profit, or for a grade. If I want to alert readers to the fact that I've never read the manga, and choose to do it in a less-than-serious way, I don't think that violates any sacred rule of anime blogging.
Lenlo
@Niello, the technical aspect of Megalo Box is very lacking. Its a character drama with sports, not a sports series with good characters, basically. And yeah the gear makes no sense.
Anonymous3336806
It seems kinda shitty to write a "Proceed with caution!" disclaimer before the review of one of your own reviewers...
Firechick
There are also old school isekai manga such as Red River, From Far Away, Crest of the Royal Family (Which is still going), and a few others.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Red River also, but for a while it takes some time to re-gain the addictive quality it has in the beginning. I didn't stick with Yona, it felt like it didn't have any direction on where it was going.
Vonter
Those were different times. And while Isekai, it feels like a different genre. I feel the Isekai of old were also more eastern, given the RPGs of the time were more fairytale like and also several you listed have more of an eastern influence.
Animosh
Yona of the Dawn is also a good example of a series with a politically ambitious female lead, though I wasn't a fan.
Animosh
I forgot how female-oriented early isekai series were. I already mentioned Twelve Kingdoms, but there's also Escaflowne, InuYasha, Rayearth, Fushigi Yugi, Haruka (I've only seen TK though) ... so I guess it's only after the recent revival of the genre that it started targeting men.
Niello
Out of all the sport anime I have watched I think Monkey Turn V is the best so far. Megalobox is pretty good but nothing special imo. I heard that in term of boxing the technical aspect isn't good, though I don't know how true that is. What I personally can't get over is how their gear in reality should just be making people fall over quicker, which shouldn't make the matches more fun.
Niello
I still
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have to stop underestimating these sports shows.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Lenlo is good at convincing me to watch stuff I might not have otherwise watched, I saw ashita no Joe, Kaze and megalobox due to him =)
niello
I should catch up on Kaze, the gap is starting to get quite big.
Lenlo
Im gonna say this every week. How is an anime about running so damn good?
Vonter
I suppose when creating a story one also needs to put some restraint, since as human beings we easily gravitate to certain "tastes."
Vonter
But oh well, I think guys do also have their kinks.
Vonter
@niello - Love might be the hardest emotion to convey. Since even if you put the poses, attitude and the like, the interactions is what sells it. The chemistry as some call it. Sadly in most anime it kinda feels one sided because the male characters are too passive. I like the relation in Shield Hero, but it also underlines the common parental figure girls tend to put.
niello
Later, the author made him accepts the love as a kind of rehab for his bitterness and for the sake of political advantages the girls will gain. So there's this weird atmosphere where the author criticises harem isekai but is writing one himself, although he's certainly trying to make it an unconventional one. At least that's how it is in the web novel. I don't know if they changed it in the LN.
niello
And also to show off. Meanwhile the MC acts like he's not involved because he prioritise the right thing, and also because he's dense toward some of the girls around him (at first) and felt put off by other girls who make bold advances. In essence, he has a harem but he doesn't seek to make one.
niello
@vonter The thing with Shield Hero and harem is that the MC berates how other people who got transported to another world have the idea of forming harems like the LN/manga/anime they know before getting transported. That became the focus of some people instead of what they should be doing like seriously training and preparing for enemy attacks, which they opt for the easy way like it's a game.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - Aside from reincarnating as a baby. Not really. Zettai Karen Children from the author of Ghost Sweeper Mikami, seems like they do. I mean they start very young and later covers have them as teenagers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: A slower take on a story is something that has grown on me as I get older.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Animosh: Those scenes in kaze clicked for me this week, but at the same time, that last bit and also the scene in the middle were definately uncharacteristically cheesy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter@Amagi: Mushoku tensei has the lead character grow up throughout it I think?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think fan interaction by creators, theres something there, listening to fans ideas within reason.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Something that comes to mind here, sometimes i think we the audience might be better at writing the shows than the people doing them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I enjoy explictness but wish it was used less juvenile-ly.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The latest character thats being recurring in my head is a kind of communist or liberation theology soldier that is trying to convert people, while also struggling to keep his highly polarized beliefs in some kind of balance.
SuperMario
@Amagi, tell me about it (having ideas but to lazy to materialize it). Heck, they are mostly lame ideas to begin with
Kaiser-Eoghan
I liked Scums wish .
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its almost always a boring comedy or action show.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or have some kind of anaylsis of why the characters express themselves in certain ways in relationships.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or something depressing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I really really wish more stories involving nudity/sex/fetishes/ecchi/hentai could actually use this kind of thing for a good psychosexual story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I really like it when the conflict has something to do with beliefs or repression aswell.
Amagi
Same here. I mean people are conflicted too, so these characters are actually more relatable. Strangely directors usually think otherwise.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I loved goodbye Lenin, my old German teacher in school was really awesome and took the class to see it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I like conflicted characters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm also fond of the idea of a villain trying to turn pure hero out of guilt from the past while still longing for his evildoing days and self-hating because of that and also feeling guilty out of enjoying the violence he commits against the villains he's up against. And sees the violence done onto himself as punishment .
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: They just end up as ideas written up rather than stories in my case.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I often feel guilty for being as lazy as I am because I have a lot of ideas and barely do anything with them. I don't even have the "I can't draw it" excuse most other people have. I am just lazy and useless.
Vonter
I've been trying to make a story for quite some time. Is about a special ops agent, that turns into a woman after a failed mission where he lost his friends and comrades. He's on a mission in order to look how to turn back and find redemption for the lost of his friends.
Amagi
OH GOD actually got FGO's Hassan i Sabbah after all with the last few quartz. Suicide prevented, thank you God.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Not a day goes by where I'm not thinking up some wild idea.
Vonter
Kaiser-Eoghan - The best use of incest in a story, is the one you don't see coming, like in King Ooedipus or Old Boy.
Vonter
I think the best case for that story would be using the Yoko Taro method of storytelling. Start by the end and build on how that tragic ending happened. There's a presentation where he explains his method. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OO_d3fwTNPo
Kaiser-Eoghan
I would never ever use incest positively in a story.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also, I had a scenario where the hero develops an obsession with the villain, to where killing him is less about personal heroic codes, but curing himself of that obsession.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But the great thing is that the actual thing, relationship never happens.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - That last one just reminds me of erogame about a girl than can't quite get with her crush and relives that same moment several times. Sometimes she reincarnating as man and the crush as a girl. In the end all versions end with rape.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also some of these villains I came up with, they're deaths and rebirths could only occur when it came to settling their specific individual problem. Thus by admitting his/her love for the brother he/she dies.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: I'll add it to my list.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I treated one of my characters like total shit, guy was a girl in his former life, got raped by some alternate version of his brother, got reincarnated a man and as a child killer/abuser, only every time this character committed a crime, they felt they abuse they inflicted on others.
Vonter
Kaiser-Eoghan - Have you read A World I Rule by Tank Guy? That's essentially an isekai about screwing over, what's essentially Eden.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And the true victory and winner is those who lost.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I love the endless cycle of you can't win no matter who you are.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I live for this stuff.
Amagi
@Vonter: I liked that about Tiger and Bunny. I don't want to spoil in case someone is about to watch it. But it contained this element of "something we're looking up to is actually some evil thing/person" and I don't mean the guys they're working for, it was clear from the beginning that those were corrupt.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But at the same time, it isn't like the hero was right either.
Vonter
Amagi - I think in the case of old villains it was caused because those didn't had civilian identities to empathize to the "human".
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also, because I love screwing characters over, after becoming the villain and actually achieving through evil, the perfect good society, even after taking in all the sins of the world and seemingly eliminating the evil inside people, humanity just fucks it all up again and became a monster all for nothing.
Amagi
We also usually don't see the villains having any problems that aren't related to the actual thing they cause. For example losing someone dear to them. Not because heroes killed them or anything, just..so. That's life etc. Making them feel more like persons. Hell even heroes have this problem. Usually when a hero suffers it's caused by the villain. As if the world wasn't more complicated.
Vonter
Also Franken Fran had a very dark and very funny story about a superhero founding out that the organization he's facing wants to conquer the world with charities.
Vonter
Watchmen, Dr. Strangelove, The day the Earth Stood Still kinda put a similar message about needing to be better with each other in order to have a better future.
Amagi
Yes, it's usually too simple. We have a clear hero fraction and a clear fraction of the villain.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*villain
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also like it when the villain isn't actually in co-operation with other bad guys, but theres also a hero, but the hero is marginalized because there are so many differing villaib factions.
Amagi
Even there, in the end it was heavily hinted that people can never bring back gone things. She saw through them and knew they were pretending and that it wasn't real anymore. Think that would happen in the other potential series we came up with too and it cause more character development.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: Elementary school up to their mid 30s.
Amagi
Have to think of Goodbye Lenin, kinda. Not exactly that topic but similar. With the mother falling into a coma during GDR time and waking up after the fall of the wall and her family trying to pretent that they're still living in the GDR to not shock her since it could mean that she'd die.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - To what extend watching them grow up? I mean in Dragon Ball we've seen Goku's entire life. In Ashita no Joe we have a big arc before the MC ever gets into an official boxing match. In Rose of Versailles we see a change of ideology over the course of 12 years.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Bad guys idea was to start up so much shit in our world to terrify the people back home.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The guys homeworld was basically one where things we consider evil are good over there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember working with the idea, where a villain brought people back, solely to open the gateway to his homeland through stealing energy from them resulting from psychological turmoil, then broadcasting how terrible humans are back to his homeland, and his people seeing how awful humanity are, then realizing they should stop being bad people.
Amagi
It's why I am always a huge fan of characters (usually, who could have known, villains) who try to resurrect a past decade or something. Like someone trying to build a world or VR space that imitates the 80s because it was the time he grew up in and which he is still missing and want to return back to. Could be the 90s as well or whatever.
Vonter
The paradox with that, is that technically one becomes a tyrant or a monster eventually. Power corrupts the individual. Whose to say those villains didn't start with good intentions?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi; Seeing a characters entire life too, seeing him grow up.
Amagi
@Kaiser: I am often thinking about such a series too. A real coming of age, with the character realising what he had lost or is about to lose, how life changes and him trying to make it stop or escape. Or force the old status quo but realising it isn't possible to maintain.
Amagi
@Vonter: Yeah that's a great compromise. Defeat the villain but maintain his new state, or develope his idea or whatever. Just without the errors the villain made.
Vonter
Oh my, realizing that last one, could make most Isekais more interesting, since there are things those characters can't do by design.
Amagi
And then the MC comes and tells everyone that the old life is good as it is with all its flaws and don't realizes that he is actually lucky enough to not be born into misery or in the middle of some war zone like many others who die and suffer.
Vonter
Villains in the end, take the decisions the hero cannot.
Amagi
It's especially bad when the authors aren't even aware of what they're doing. Like showing that there are characters in the fictional world that get an actual better life with the change the villain brings. Paralysed people being able to move for example or poor outcasts not needing food anymore, in case that the villain forces some VR world and digitalizes people.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Booboo hiss , no revolution is lame. Revolution good, do revolution.
Vonter
Kaiser-Eoghan - Aggretsukko touches a bit on the last two examples.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I still love the idea of people actually benefitting from the terrible things the villain does and actually learning from it and the world becomes a better place because we learned not to repeat the bad guys actions. But the bad guy committed those very bad actions to make us realize that.
Amagi
@Vonter: Yeah I never liked that meta message most stories have that basically boils down to "be happy with everything as it is now and don't try changing it, also, revolutions are evil".
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or where a person attempts to explore becoming something more but ends up just accelerating the breakup/going seperate ways thing.
Kaiser-Eoghan
yes vonter, you are giving good examples.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And people growing apart because they've gotten older.
Vonter
@Amagi - Villains have selfish desires, human flaws, and determination. Heroes on those series usually defended the status quo, since that's the only thing they saw as right. And in the meta was to tell the audience how they should behave.
Amagi
Could never get into wimpy characters either. Shy yes, as long as shyness is portrayed seriously and not the typical shy/naive "etooo..ano ne.." harem guy/girl. But I always wondered who can even selfinsert into the typical harem or otome lead.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd happily watch a coming of age story which was just about a bunch of guys hanging out, playing videogames, watching films, anime, playing outside and just joking around, very little melodramatic stuff, only on a rare occassion drifting in naturally into the narrative.
Vonter
Ano hana is about reflecting on how the characters grew up.
Amagi
I mean villains are often the oddballs. MCs are too "normal". They're usually the typical guys that maintain the status quo (even if it's flawed), get/want a romantic relation ship and a normal life whereas the villains have ambitions and are often "different" to say it that way. They feel more human to me. Or maybe I am just too weird myself I don't know.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or even a character reflecting on how they've grown up.
Amagi
@Kaiser: As a child it was almost always the villains for me, or villain sidekicks. Probably because writing was more strict back then and there were too many things heroes weren't allowed to think, like or do. Well it's still a problem.
Vonter
Hi Score Girl has a character that reminds me of some aspects I'm not proud of my youth.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or a protaganist realizing all of their past romances were chosen because they thought they had to fit in by having such relationships based on expectations, when really they genuinely don't care about romance.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan Wasn't 30 centimeters per second like that? Welcome to NHK also explores some aspects of the young adult. Kimi ga Nozomu Eien is a soap opera but with adult characters in need of maturing to independent people.
Kaiser-Eoghan
So i can understand wanting to relate to something in fiction.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also none of these stories ever reflected or related to my adolescence.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I want to see a story about someone who is trying to adjust to their mid 20s or 30s after finally realizing that what they thought would never end (what they were familiar with in their youth) is over.
Anonymous3329534
What are the must-watch anime this season?
Kaiser-Eoghan
In alot of cases naturally the underwhelming leads, male or female are romcom/harem/coming of leads...which leads me to ask, I want an dramedy that I can actually relate to.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Or it was one of the villains.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The idea of being a military commander, military leader, spy or an emperor or a more clever character appealed to me more.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Nor superpowered characters for the most part.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've probably said this before, and I don't know if this is just from western upbringing, but I never really self-inserted into wimpy characters because I could never imagine myself like that.
Vonter
All these in regards when a girl is the protagonist.
Vonter
1.- They rarely put interesting love interests. 2.- Few times stories aren't about seeking some internal even selfish desires. 3.- In anime at least females get along very easily while I get the impression it's more complicated IRL. 4.- I identify easily the romanticized power fantasy of men but I can't tell if I've seen that thing of women's.
Vonter
It's a dichotomy. Since I've seen both the worst and some of the best female character in manga and anime. Yet I can't shake the feeling female characters have unwritten restrictions to them.
Amagi
@Vonter: The new Promare trailer got me more interested in this. So it seems like the enemies are actually controlled by humans (that..guy/girl(?)). I also feel like the new blonde character will be a traitor or secret endboss or something.
Amagi
@Vonter: I also always had a problem with female characters, be it anime or whatever. Not because of social reasons or anything, I just found them unrelatable. But they got better over the years, especially in the west. Anime always had some series with ambitious female MCs though, it's just that a lot of anime are too selfinserty and these types prefer the safe route and do otome series.
Vonter
This movie is looking sick. It looks like it's using the same type of cel shading as the latest Guilty Gear game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzFFaLB6fHw
Vonter
I've read manga and webcomics with good or bad art, both can have great or very poor writing.
Vonter
I think scores are incredibly more subjective in terms of comics than other mediums. There is just a vast array of qualities, content, and distribution and exposure also makes for some works fall into obscurity.
Kaiser-Eoghan
or huge praise either.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I decided to read that yuri manga Octave, while I'd give it a higher score than they gave it, a myanimelist reviewer was fairly accurate in saying it really boils down to "another drama" but another review said it was "a quick, short and easy to read manga" I think those are reasonable takes, for better or worse this falls it the fine category and isn't really a huge black mark against it
Vonter
Interesting. I mean it's only a matter of time there are several other Isekai mangas that are either full female or gender bended. Also the Spider Isekai is also coming soon.
Animosh
Always nice to see an author reflect on and work on overcoming his limitations.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There was that recent article where sword art's writer brought up how he wrote his female chracters.
Animosh
Japan has a female prime minister in GITS too, although she's just a supporting character. And now that I think about it, the world of SAO's current arc has a female leader - in fact, her all-consuming ambition is basically her #1 trait.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But that is more of a case of female characters in tougher mode roles.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I suppose if I was making a list of female characters that stood out well for me I would put Motoko (ghost in the shell) or Balsa from Moribito.
Animosh
But I can think of some exceptions. Youjo Senki technically has a female lead, and for an older example there's Twelve Kingdoms. And outside of isekai you have ambitious female characters like Shurei (from Saiunkoku Monogatari) or Maude (from ACCA). But it's true that they're relatively rare.
Animosh
It is true that political ambition is a big part of some isekai though. Overlord is an obvious case, and there's also Log Horizon and the Slime series this season. And the MCs of these series are all males. But then, I suppose political power over others is something that is just more likely to appeal to men, especially in patriarchal Japan.
Total users: 29

Star Crossed Anime Blog

4 User(s) Online Join Server

Featured Posts

Kemurikusa – 03

DISCLAIMER: this is an original review of an original show from one of our own reviewers. His ignorance of future characters and plot points may limit his perspective on the series as it unfolds. Proceed with caution! At there episodes mark, Kemurikusa’s strengths weaknesses are more in clear view now. In a positive side, the […]

Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru – 14 [You’re Not Alone]

Welcome all to another episode of Kaze Fui, Best Boy Simulator 2019. This week we have some more qualified times, lots of wholesome bonding and a hint mystery. Lets dive in! Starting of light and happy, I loved Kaze Fui’s attention to detail this week. All of our boys, aside from Yuki and Prince, tanning […]

Dororo – 3 [The Story of Jukai]

Airing at the same time as Mob Psycho, completely independently, Dororo also managed a somber, character driven episode. This week we learn more about Junkai the prosthetic doctor, Hyakkimaru’s past, and the world at large. Let’s dive in! Dororo started off in a very dark place this episode, which contrasted oddly with the beautiful sunset […]

Mob Psycho 100 Season 2 – 3 [One Danger After Another ~Degeneration~]

Another week, another episode of Mob Psycho, though this week is a little different. Last time was all action and comedy. This time, Mob Psycho takes a more somber, character driven tone, and I love it. So that said, let’s dive in! Like I said, this week Mob Psycho was much more subdued than previous […]

Winter 2019 Summary – Week 2

Welcome to the new weekly section where I will cover current season’s shows that I’m still following that haven’t been blogged by us, the leftovers so to speak. That way readers who watch these shows below can keep tabs on how we feel about them. At the moments aside from the top tiers shows we […]

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai – 02 [The Wandering Six]

Many of you might wonder why I decided to blog this show, despite the first episode spent two third of its time in one single aerial combat, which can be fascinating to watch but bring extremely little to talk about. While I agree that Kotobuki has its fair share of underwhelming aspects (which I will […]

Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019) – 04 [VS The Imaginator 1]

It starts with a girl jumping off the building. I’m always a sucker for this sort of opener (clue in to Lain and Satoshi Kon even though Kon never technically did that for opener), and it feels like a decent start for the next arc to come. It basically repeats the same formula as the […]

Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai – 02

WARNING: This review of Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai has been authored by a non-manga reader. His ignorance of future characters and plot points may limit his perspective on the series as it unfolds. Proceed with caution! Boy, is this show a treat. I know we’re only two weeks into the winter season, but Kaguya-sama is my […]

Yakusoku no Neverland – 02[131045]

Thus the story of the Promised Neverland starts in earnest now that the first episode has revealed it’s book and the nature of the orphanage is revealed. As someone aptly put it, this is like Chicken Run, the anime. It’s quite interesting seeing things from a new perspective now that the curtain has risen as […]

Latest Reviews

Planetes Anime Review – 89/100

If there is one thing I have lost watching seasonal anime, it is patience. Every week I expect something to happen, some kind of payoff, to make watching that week worth it. Luckily, Planetes as brought that back to me. Its depth of writing, characters, and general structure belay an anime of a different age. […]

Goblin Slayer Anime Review – 60/100

The controversial nature of this shows opening episode may have many turning away from it due to believing it’s nothing but shock value but that truly isn’t what Goblin Slayer is. I will say that the manga may hold some truth to that statement but thanks to some tasteful censoring(Yes, sometimes censoring can be a […]

Zombieland Saga Anime Review – 60/100

Zombieland Saga was a show that came out of the gate guns blazing, no one expected it nor did anyone predict it but it left a strong impression when it first aired it’s starting episodes. Originally considered to be another zombie apocalypse anime, it overthrew expectations by turning out to be a zombie idol anime. […]

SSSS.GRIDMAN (Fall 2018) Anime Review – 87/100

Let it be known that I’ve never been a fan of Trigger. For me, they’re one of the most style-with-no-substance studio on Earth with a tendency for god-awful fanservice, and total nonsense in terms of story and characters. Yet GRIDMAN completely caught me off guard in the first two episodes, and from there, there was […]

Thunderbolt Fantasy 2 (Fall 2018) Anime Review – 86/100

If anyone has been familiar with the first season of Thunderbolt Fantasy, you’d find yourself a lot to enjoy in this second installment. Served as a sequel, but not a direct continuation to the first, viewers don’t need the knowledge of the original in order to enjoy this ride. Thunderbolt 2 carries many trademarks that […]

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara (2018 Fall) Anime Review – 73/100

In the last few years, it’s great to see P.A Works has slowly created their own studio identity, putting more original works with consistent production values. Just in 2018, they produced 4 shows (quite a good number if you ask me), 3 of them were original: Maquia, Sirius the Jaeger and Irozuku. As I said, […]

Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai Anime Review – 82/100

In the wake of many a school based light novel show this may be the small bits of fresh air was can savor out of this overdone setting. Rascal does not dream of Bunny Girl(Or by its japanese title above) is a series not about rascals or bunny girls but instead about contextualising common high […]

Banana Fish Anime Review – 72/100

Some days, I wonder what it is with America and anime about organized crime. Baccano!, 91 Days, Blood Blockade Battlefront, all set in America, all involving criminal underworlds. Today, I get to add another to that list in the form of Banana Fish. Much more grounded than the others, it’s story dates all the way […]

Castlevania Season 2 Review – 73/100

According to much of the Western Anime community, this series wouldn’t be relevant for a site like this. Being made in the West by Americans, and English being its first language, many would disqualify it from the start. However I name them all fools for Castlevania, Directed by Sam Deats and Ryoichi Uchikoshi is clearly […]